Class 3A Division I Region III
Final

Kilgore Bulldogs (10-1)
vs.
Gainesville Leopards (12-0)

7:30 p.m. Friday
City Bank Stadium, Forney

Coaches
Kilgore: Mike Wood
Gainesville: Keith Hall

Road To Regionals

Kilgore

  • Bi-district: def. Athens, 42-7
  • Regional semifinal: def. Paris, 41-14

 

Gainesville

  • Bi-district: def. Frisco Lone Star, 66-28
  • Regional semifinal: def. Princeton, 40-14

 

Next week: Winner plays Abilene Wylie (12-0) or Stephenville (11-1) in a 3A Division I state semifinal.

 

Playmakers

Kilgore

  • TE/MLB A.J. Davis, Sr., 6-0, 220 (3 TD catches; 132 tackles, 12 for loss, 2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles)
  • DT LaDarrin Anthony, Jr., 6-0, 230 (88 tackles, 20.5 for loss, 8.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 2 recoveries)
  • DE D.Q. Scott, Jr., 5-11, 225 (43 tackles, 10 for loss, 7 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 1 recovery)
  • WR/CB Benny Colbert, Jr., 5-10, 175 (17 touches, 156 yards, 1 TD; 46 tackles, 3 for loss, 5 INTs, 1 forced fumble, 2 recoveries, 5 pass breakups, 2 kick blocks)
  • OLB Jake Brantley, Jr., 5-10, 185 (91 tackles, 7 for loss, 2 sacks, 2 INTs, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery)
  • QB Cooper Coldiron, Sr., 5-11, 170 (60 of 111, 1,208 yards, 11 TDs, 3 INTs; 6 rush TDs)
  • WR/CB Q Brewster, Jr., 6-1, 180 (9 catches, 160 yards; 29 tackles, 4 INTs, 1 forced fumble, 1 kick block)
  • OL Clay Wiley, Jr., 6-0, 280
  • FB/DE Cornelius Bell, Sr., 6-1, 225 (22 carries, 123 yards, 4 TDs; 24 tackles, 5 for loss, 2 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries)

 

Gainesville

  • FB Adam Berryman, Jr. (224 carries, 1,677 yards, 25 TDs)
  • QB Denzel Johnson, Sr. (60 of 108, 926 yards, 10 TDs, 5 INTs; 78 carries, 992 yards, 10 TDs)
  • RB Jonathan Mendez, Jr. (54 carries, 691 yards, 10 TDs)
  • WR David Moore, Sr. (34 catches, 562 yards, 8 TDs)
  • RB Danny Nipp, Sr. (43 carries, 218 yards, 1 TD; 9 catches, 154 yards, 1 TD)

 

Just the facts

  • Kilgore averages 35.4 points per game and allows 9.3.
  • Gainesville averages 37.7 points per game and allows 14.9.
  • Kilgore has won eight games by 21 or more points.
  • Gainesville has won eight games by 21 or more points.
  • Kilgore averages 303.1 total yards per game (193.3 rushing, 109.8 passing).
  • Gainesville averages 410.8 total yards per game (333.6 rushing, 77.2 passing).
  • Kilgore yields 212.3 total yards per game (123.3 rushing, 89.0 passing).
  • Kilgore's lone loss was 20-14 at Gilmer (11-1) on Nov. 9.
  • The Bulldogs' closest win was 14-10 vs. Henderson (8-4) on Nov. 2. Other than that, their closest win was 27-14 vs. Bullard (7-3) on Oct. 5.
  • Gainesville hasn't lost, but the Leopards have beaten Vernon (9-3) and Krum (9-2) by one point apiece and Springtown (6-5) by eight.

 

Kilgore FB/DE Cornelius Bell. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: Gainesville ground game vs. Kilgore front seven. A quick look at the stats reveals the obvious: Gainesville lives and dies by the running game. To this point of their season, the Leopards have lived, and lived big. Gainesville has garnered a 22.8-point advantage per game on its 12 opponents thanks in part to its punishing ground game, which accounts for more than 81 percent of the Leopards' 410.8 total yards per game. Gainesville will find out just how good its ground attack is Friday night in Forney. Kilgore presents a challenge the Leopards have most likely not seen. The defensive line of ends D.Q. Scott and Cornelius "Spike" Bell join tackles LaDarrin Anthony and Josh Daniels to give the 'Dogs one of the best defensive fronts in all of Class 3A. Then there are Kilgore's top three tacklers -- all-state middle linebacker A.J. Davis and outside 'backers Jake Brantley and Kris Haynes. Kilgore has held its first 11 foes to 3.1 yards per carry; Gainesville enters Friday's game averaging 8.5. As the cliche goes, something's got to give.

 

Kilgore OL Clay Wiley. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Don't be surprised if: Kilgore dictates which team wins this strength-on-strength rushing game battle. Kilgore has forced 46 three-and-outs on 113 opponent possessions. That means the Bulldogs' defense is delivering a three-and-out on 40.7 percent of the other team's possession. Kilgore's offense has improved during recent weeks and hasn't had to show anything new that the Bulldogs might have installed since the six-point loss against Gilmer. If Kilgore's defense continues playing the way it has in the first two rounds -- not to mention a Bulldog offense that has steadily improved its rushing attack -- the Dogs will again not have to show much of their arsenal. Make no mistake, Gainesville is good. Nobody that assembles a 12-0 start and reaches the 3A Division I Region II championship isn't a good team. But the Leopards' schedule reveals that they have not played anyone like Kilgore, which is battle-tested after its second-place finish in District 16-3A, the "District of Doom." A Gainesville win would be a significant upset, regardless of the Leopards' undefeated record. If Kilgore protects the ball and keeps playing the crushing defense it has all season, the Bulldogs are headed to a titanic matchup against the Abilene Wylie vs. Stephenville winner in a 3A D-I state semifinal.